Make us your home page
Instagram

Calendar, weather put a damper on Fourth of July fireworks sales in Tampa Bay area

All things here go boom Bradley Williams, 14, looks over a box at the Galaxy Fireworks stand on State Road 60 in Brandon on Monday. Bradley was helping his sister, who works at the stand and likes to see what is in the many different fireworks boxes.  

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

All things here go boom Bradley Williams, 14, looks over a box at the Galaxy Fireworks stand on State Road 60 in Brandon on Monday. Bradley was helping his sister, who works at the stand and likes to see what is in the many different fireworks boxes. 

Fourth of July fireworks sales could prove more of a dud than a bang thanks to the calendar and Mother Nature.

Pyrotechnic vendors burst into a collective groan whenever the holiday falls midweek, rather than near a weekend when many people are off work.

"It's a known fact. Wednesday is the worst day for us," said Elizabeth Musselwhite, co-editor of the monthly American Fireworks News. "People still have parties. They just won't do as much on the actual day."

Then, about 10 days before the holiday, a second punch to the $1 billion industry: Tropical Storm Debby struck, washing out local advance sales.

"I think everyone was affected by the storm," said Sharon Hunnewell-Johnson, president of Galaxy Fireworks, which has tents across the region and a year-round store in Tampa. "July third and fourth are the busiest days for buying fireworks, but a lot of people plan ahead and start firing them off early."

The storm knocked down four Galaxy tents in the Tampa Bay area and forced many others to close for a few days. Employees had to restock and reorganize tents. Fireworks that got wet were ruined.

Sky Candy Fireworks' seasonal retail site in Brandon suffered no damage from the rain. Sales, however, were slower over the weekend.

"In the middle of the week, I'm sure it's tough for people to take a lot of time off,'' said Jim Nyers, who owns Sky Candy with Steve Traczyk. "A lot of people have to work the next day.''

The company anticipated a decrease in sales and ordered 20 percent less on some items. But they remained hopeful that people would shop last minute and expected celebrations would spill over the weekend if the rain stays away.

Fireworks sales in other parts of the country also have taken a hit but for opposite reasons: hot weather and dry conditions.

In June, Colorado's governor banned the private use of fireworks in response to deadly wildfires that burned hundreds of homes. Many cities canceled their firework shows in favor of live music and other, less combustible, activities.

In the Midwest, record temperatures, brush fires and drought conditions prompted similar bans in much of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri.

Any dip in sales would be slight compared with the explosive growth the U.S. industry has experienced during the past 15 years. Revenue from display and consumer fireworks increased from $610 million in 2000 to $967 million in 2011. The weight of fireworks sold jumped from 153 million pounds in 2000 to 234 million pounds in 2011.

"Not only has this industry survived in this tough economy, we're thriving," said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.

She attributes the success to a surge in patriotism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an increase in family "staycations" and a liberalization of fireworks laws. Many governments relaxed rules to boost tax revenue. Only four states prohibit consumer fireworks: Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Tim Edney, a manager of Phantom Fireworks in Tampa, has seen a steady climb in business, regardless of last week's washout. A Wednesday holiday isn't ideal, he said, but it might mean more people will stay home and celebrate.

And there's always next year to look forward to. In 2013, Independence Day falls on a Thursday, one day closer to the weekend.

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110.

Calendar, weather put a damper on Fourth of July fireworks sales in Tampa Bay area 07/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report

    Corporate

    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month

    Autos

    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa

    Business

    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.